Eye contact

June 8, 2015 at 2:25 pm

I had another book signing on Saturday, and in spite of my nerves, it went well.

When you’re an introvert, as many authors are, it’s challenging to go into a bookstore, sit at a table, and try and convince passersby that they need to buy your book. I’ve long found it one of the most difficult things about my role as an author. The only thing I find more scary is going into a bookstore to ask for a signing in the first place! 🙂 It taxes all my reserves from the moment I take my seat. Straight away I’m looking for anyone who might glance at my books – once, twice – to see if I can engage them in conversation.

Sometimes it’s easy. In fact, on Saturday I was still setting up my table when a lady stopped to find out what my books were about. Although she didn’t buy any, I gave her one of my Verindon trilogy bookmarks. My first sale came almost immediately after that, when I’d been sitting at the table for only about a minute. It’s always nice to start out that way.

However, as the hours drifted on, exhaustion set in as I tried to attract interest in my table with the offer of a chocolate, hoping it would give me an opening to start a conversation. It’s interesting to see those who don’t mind stopping for a chat. Even some who don’t want to stop are more willing to smile when they hear me say, ‘Would you like a chocolate?’ Even if they say no, it’s great to see that they’re not antagonistic about the fact I’ve spoken to them.

Then there are the others,  the ones who avoid eye contact at all cost and move as quickly as they can until they are past me. I can’t say I blame them – I regularly do the same thing to avoid a sales pitch – but it makes it difficult to keep the smile in place and look for the next person.

Fortunately, on Saturday I had a good response, selling four individual copies of The Heir and one full set of all three books. It’s heartening to think there are five new customers out there and that the four who only took The Heir may come back for the other two some time in the near future. It buoys me as I think of the next outing I will have, whenever that is, and helps me to remember that attempting that eye contact is worth it.

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